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Survey: Demand grows for greater focus on diversity, equality and inclusivity in shipping

Written by Marine Log Staff
Heidi Heseltine, co-founder of the Diversity Study Group

Heidi Heseltine, co-founder of the Diversity Study Group. “Shipping risks falling behind at a time when DEI has become essential to building a resilient and relevant sector.”

Shipping is significantly lacking ethnic and female representation at the senior level of the industry’s shoreside workforce, according to the latest survey from the London-based Diversity Study Group (DSG). While this may come as no surprise, DSG says the survey indicates that employers are increasingly keen to embrace the benefits of data on DEI (diversity, equality, inclusivity) to support decision-making and respond to the growing importance of DEI issues to employers and new recruits.

The results come from the Diversity Study Group’s 2021 Annual Review, published this week. The review draws on the results of a survey of over 3,000 people from the group’s member organizations spanning the maritime supply chain, including ship owners, operators, managers and charterers.

The survey confirms a significant lack of ethnic and female representation at senior levels of the sector. The data showed 27% of C-suite positions are currently held by women, dropping to 14% at the heads of department level. However, this gender imbalance is not reflected at junior and trainee level, where the split is 63% female and 35% male.

The survey also explored the gender divide between departments. IT remains the most male-dominated department with 82% of its workforce identifying as male. This is closely followed by technical & fleet operations, with only 19% of roles being filled by women. In comparison, there is a higher representation of women in finance, human resources, administrative and support roles, as well as legal, insurance, and middle-office areas.

As well as gender, the annual review explored age and ethnicity in the shoreside shipping workforce. The Review also looks at employees’ awareness of their organisation’s DEI policy and their ability to speak up and raise concerns over discrimination in the workplace.

“Other sectors are making considerable investments in time and resource as they adapt their business strategies to foster a more inclusive workplace culture,” says Heidi Heseltine, co-founder of the Diversity Study Group. “If shipping fails to do so, it risks falling behind at a time when DEI has become essential to building a resilient and relevant sector, one that can thrive and progress.”

This is the second annual review conducted by the DSG, which is now building a growing data set on diversity issues, particularly around age, gender, and ethnicity, that will meet the demand from shipping organizations for robust benchmarks that will help to track progress and drive change through more data-driven DEI strategies and programs.

Membership of the DSG spans the shipping industry and includes AET, Ardmore Shipping, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, Cargill Ocean Transportation, Dorian LPG, G2 Ocean, GasLog, Hafnia BW and Peninsula.

The 2021 annual review is available upon request via info@diversitystudygroup.com.

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